How does one bring a leg of Italian prosciutto as part of luggage?

Going to Italy this summer and would like to bring back some Parma or San Daniele



beejay45 July 9, 2013
GIOVANNI50 - It's not that they don't get that it's basically the same product. It's that the whole leg, or whatever, is sealed and stamped, attesting to its compliance with U.S. import regulations.

Once that package has been opened, those seals are meaningless, voided. There could be contamination from any number of things from that point on. That's why, if you buy a whole, sealed, stamped "ham" and bring it on the plane, you cannot get the munchies and cut into it. If you do, you void the stamps/certifications, and it will be consfiscated. The same is true for any of the food products that have to be sealed and stamped.

So, if you buy some sliced prosciutto in a deli or market, that is open, unsealed, unstamped/uncertified, it will be confiscated. Eat that on the plane and save your whole leg for post customs. ;)
Greenstuff July 8, 2013
Lady Liberty. But it was mortadella.
pierino July 8, 2013
Now at least you can buy imported Italian mortadella in the US, finally. Let's just agree that the rules are ridiculous unless you are smuggling in drugs or live monkeys.
dymnyno July 8, 2013
Wasn't there a Sophia Loren movie in which she brings a ham from Italy as a present for her fiance' and has a major tussle with customs?
GIOVANNI50 July 4, 2013
I got a response from CBP and it says ...
Dear Giovanni,
The ham needs an Official Italian Health Inspection Certificate for Meat Products and an Italian Health Warranty Annex (there are several versions of the form). I hope this answer helps.

Answer Title: Bringing meat, poultry or pork/swine products into the U.S.
Answer Link:

Answer Title: Travelers bringing food into the U.S. for personal use
Answer Link:
GIOVANNI50 July 7, 2013
I sent an additional query because the regs says prosciutto is prohibited but not ham so I asked:
"Dear Mark,
Thanks for the guidance. However, as I read the links you sent me, it says that prosciutto is not allowed. Can you clarify then? If it is a leg with all the papers it is ok, but if it is "sliced" prosciutto from, say a supermarket or deli, then it is NOT allowed?
I appreciate your answer.

-and I got this response
Giovanni ,
The ham is not allowed unless it has the proper certificates from the Italian government. You may be able to find those hams at an airport or specialty store in Italy, but the regular prosciutto you buy at a supermarket is prohibited. Please write back if you have any more questions.
I don't think these people understand that ham=prosciutto. Alas, at least it got clarified.
Greenstuff June 17, 2013
Not to beat a dead pig, but refer to the manual! It is update regularly. Clearly, a tourist cannot just stuff a pig leg into his or her luggage and get it into the country. But there are approved manufacturers and certifications that do allow import if GIOVANNI50 is more serious than the rest of us. Look specifically at
GIOVANNI50 June 18, 2013
Well the regs you cite indicate you can. So long as you have all the appropriate certifications handy for the inspectors.
usuba D. June 17, 2013
You can't. I just was in line at customs 2 months ago and watched a search beagle find a prosciutto in someone's bag. It was confiscated immediately by the custom's agent.
healthierkitchen June 17, 2013
Please do, I'll be very interested to know. In the past, pork products, open or closed have been a no-no. We have, however, brought back whole wheels of Pecorino Toscana a couple of times.
GIOVANNI50 June 16, 2013
I will let everyone know when I get an answer. This is matter of life or death ... to the palate that is...
beejay45 June 15, 2013
This info may be out of date, since the regs change with the speed of light, but one thing that never seems to change: the preserved meat, cheese, or whatever, must be intact. A friend was bringing a salume home in her carry-on, got the munchies on the flight, cut off a chunk. When she went through customs, it was confiscated and trashed because it was not intact. So, if you find you can do this, don't nibble!
mensaque June 14, 2013
In a great pair of Armani pants...SOOOO Sorry,but I just couldn't help myself!Have a great trip!
Greenstuff June 14, 2013
Here's the USDA animal product manual:
jmburns June 14, 2013
It may be permissible but you must remember that the agent you are reviewed by may not be familiar with the rules and regulation. If they confiscate by the time you appeal it us not going to be good anymore.
healthierkitchen June 14, 2013
For personal use, I'm pretty sure if they find it, customs will confiscate pork products from your luggage. We were a little iffy on just bringing back cheese.
bigpan June 14, 2013
I would double check with Customs before you go. I live in Canada and the difference between US Customs and Canadian Customs is in the US they have guns! And, taking your leg of pork away is only the start of your problems...there is the strip search, put on the "list" for all your future travels, fines, etc. Don't risk it. Not only would I double check, but get it in writing.
pierino June 14, 2013
My understanding is that while the Feds have eased the rules on imports you still can't carry in items such as prosciutto. The sources for prosciutto and Spanish jamon iberico have to open to USDA inspection. For example they expect the meat to be aged longer than is really necessary for sale in the country of origin. You can still buy these products here at home but they are expensive. Maedl makes an excellent point. For example La Quercia now makes wonderful domestic prosciutto. My advice would be taste it in Italy and then compare it to the La Quercia product. I think you'll be impressed. I was.
Maedl June 14, 2013
The US changed the rules and beginning on 28 May the importation of certain salumi, and I believe this included prosciutto, became permissable. However, this affected commercial importation--I am not sure if it applies to travellers. but Giovanni, you live in the mid-Atlantic, don't you? we have many local producers and and butchers doing great things with meats. Why not support them and create a source near home?
Sam1148 June 13, 2013
Whooo...I don't think so. Importing meat products to the US via customs is a very tricky thing.

I wouldn't risk the cost of it. Importers bring in meats and cheeses but travelers normally can't.
GIOVANNI50 June 14, 2013
I looked it up and amounts up to 50 lbscan be brought for personal consumption. But I sent up a question to make sure to CBP thanks for the link
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